Not long ago, I had an ear infection. When I went to the doctor, a hearing test was part of standard procedures. They tested my hearing by placing me in a completely quiet room, putting headphones on my ears, and telling me to raise my hand whenever I heard a beep. The beeps would come at various intervals, frequencies, and volumes. The better your hearing, the more beeps you would hear. Perfect hearing would mean every single beep was heard, even the most quiet… those barely spoken.
A STILL, SMALL VOICE
My hearing at the time was not very good, but the doctor knew what to do about the infection and how to return my hearing to normal. He did what was necessary for me to be able to hear quiet sounds again.
A parallel occurred to me in our spiritual lives. We should be able to hear the voice of God, and discern His voice from all the other “voices” around us. It is important for us to hear God, not only when He shouts, but also when He whispers. Our lives are often so “noisy” that when God speaks in His “still, small voice,” it can be difficult for us to hear.
SILENCE AND SOLITUDE
I believe the spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude are means by which we can learn to hear the whispers of God. Solitude means being by yourself. Silence means to be still and in a quiet place. When we are disciplined enough to separate ourselves from all distractions, both external and internal, and simply sit before God, we are creating the opportunity to learn how to hear and recognize His voice. We can begin to hear God speak quietly when we are in a quiet place. Then, when we are in the midst of the noises of life, and God’s voice is mixed in with so many others, we will be more apt to hear and discern the one voice we need to hear most.
When we are quieted before the Lord, listening for what He may say, the sounds in the silence can change our lives.